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Despite Nvidia's Anti-Mining Lock, RTX 3060 Can Still Earn Up To $7 a Day Mining

Gamer upset that RTX 3060 can still mine
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Yesterday, Nvidia announced that the RTX 3060 would limit hashing power when it detected Ethereum mining, but Nvidia was oddly specific about Ethereum. That made us wonder: What about other coins? After all, Ethereum isn't the only crypto coin out there, and new coins and algorithms come out on a regular basis.

As it turns out, we were right to wonder about this. The RTX 3060 implements vBIOS and driver protections to detect when it is mining Ethereum. But as found by YouTuber CryptoLeo, it will still happily mine other coins, as if it has no idea that it's still mining coins at full power... because... well... it doesn't know better.

Leo tested a Pre-NDA RTX 3060 GPU with coins such as Octopus, Cortex, and a handful more, and found that with the first two the GPU is still able to generate about $6.5 in profits per day... which is enough to still make it attractive to miners, and not what gamers were hoping for.

Of course, these coins aren't as popular as Ethereum due to overall lower profitability, so it makes sense that Nvidia targeted Ethereum coin mining with the hashing limiter. But it makes you wonder: Was it all just a complicated PR stunt to regain some popularity with gamers?

Why Not Just Gimp All Hashing?

CryptoLeo on YouTube, on RTX 3060 Profitability

(Image credit: CryptoLeo Youtube)

Of course, we're all asking ourselves the same question, but the solution isn't quite that simple. Creating a general limiting algorithm for when crypto-mining behavior is detected is harder than one would think for one simple reason: How do you make it distinguish between coin mining and other non-gaming GPU workloads that can look like mining, such as machine learning, cryptography, or graphical work with Adobe products? Maybe that last one is easier, but GPUs are fully programmable for a reason.

As a result, if the Ethereum protocol were to change even slightly, for example, the update to Ethereum 2.0 with the new Proof-of-Stake mining model, the entire mining limiter would likely cease to be useful. But that's still quite a ways away, so the main issue, for now, remains other profitable coins and the risk of someone finding a workaround for the in-vBIOS detection.

We're scratching our heads about how well the measure will be useful to limiting the RTX 3060's appeal to miners. I suppose we'll have to wait and see to find out. The RTX 3060 is slated to launch on the 25th of February for $329 — but we all know it's going to cost a lot more than that, especially if miners do set their sights on it. The Ampere GPUs were already selling out faster than Nvidia could make them before the recent surge in mining profitability, and the underlying problem (not enough supply) isn't going away any time soon.

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • Phaaze88
    Pfft! Bahahahahahah!

    Oh, would you look at that... thar's still profits to be made after all!
    Reply
  • GenericUser
    Is it all just a complicated PR stunt?

    Yes.
    Reply
  • sstanic
    and it is not even complicated.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    I'm worried Nvidia's hash rate limiter is going to get some false positives and affect non-mining applications. A lot of us use Nvidia GPUs for 3D art. I would be furious if Nvidia degraded performance for Blender or Zbrush. I wouldn't care if it was an accident or not intended.

    Nvidia needs to leverage Geforce Experience to get GPUs to gamers. You have all the analytics data right there -- library of games, number of hours played, years of being a gamer, etc. Sell the cards through Geforce Experience already. It should be absolutely trivial to separate gamers from miners and to limit how many GPUs an individual account can acquire. Is it perfect? No, but sure better than cat and mouse solutions.
    Reply
  • VforV
    This is getting more ridiculous by the day...
    Reply
  • akarub
    As a result, if the Ethereum protocol were to change even slightly, for example, the update to Ethereum 2.0 with the new Proof-of-Stake mining model, the entire mining limiter would likely cease to be useful.

    What? Whoever wrote the article should have done better research.

    Proof-of-Work is mining.

    Proof-of-Stake is not mining.

    PoS will not need GPUs. Actually, Ethereum has already started the switch from PoW to PoS (Ethereum 2.0), with the successful launch of Phase 0 in past December. There are already 98k validators on PoS, proposing and attesting new blocks, and getting rewards for that. They don't need GPUs for that.

    This is a good source of information: https://launchpad.ethereum.org/
    Reply
  • VforV
    I'm just gonna leave this here, in case someone missed it. The 2nd part of the video is related to the subject here: nvidia and mining.

    XffTdLPaGOg
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    bigdragon said:
    I'm worried Nvidia's hash rate limiter is going to get some false positives and affect non-mining applications. A lot of us use Nvidia GPUs for 3D art.
    I doubt anything resembling typical 3D shader work will cause false positives simply due to the variety of shaders contained in a typical 3D scene all with very different behaviors and dependencies using many instructions that mining will never touch except as artificially added to trick detection algorithms. For example, 3D work is FP-heavy and nearly all results require rounding while mining deals primarily with exact integers where rounding simply must not happen.
    Reply
  • lazyabum
    ImgTec PowerVR Caustic Ray Tracing RTU and GR6500 Wizard could've achieved real time Ray Tracing plus would've been cryptomining proof.
    Reply
  • usiname
    bigdragon said:
    Nvidia needs to leverage Geforce Experience to get GPUs to gamers. You have all the analytics data right there -- library of games, number of hours played, years of being a gamer, etc. Sell the cards through Geforce Experience already. It should be absolutely trivial to separate gamers from miners and to limit how many GPUs an individual account can acquire. Is it perfect? No, but sure better than cat and mouse solutions.
    What about peoples that not use Geforce Experience, has AMD/Intel GPU or content creators? You can't make investigation for everyone. The best solution is to limit 1 GPU per person, still not 100% effective, but at least is something. Now I looking for new GPU and every time when I make call to any retailer they ask me how many I want to get when they have stock.
    Reply